"We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us." Romans 8:26
None of us have "arrived," so our minds are a mixture of truth and error, godly and ungodly thoughts as we "press on" to maturity in Christ (Philippians 3:12-14).
But "the LORD searches every heart and understands every desire and every thought" like a Father with His small children (1 Chronicles 28:9).
He understands our weaknesses and immaturity and He patiently listens to our requests, fears, sorrows, and confusion. If we have any doubts about this, we need only read the Psalms.
Prayer is part of the lifelong process of renewing our minds (Romans 12:2).
If you've thought of prayer as simply a way to ask God's help. Think again.
Here are a few instructions for effective prayer. This is not a thorough list, but a few insights to help us pray more effectively:
Insights for last week's Bible Study1. There are many mysteries in our faith, signs that we serve a God whose ways are far above our own. This should give us comfort--knowing God is not like any man.
Insights in blue text
Deuteronomy 29:29: The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law.
God has given us all the information we need to live Christian lives (2 Peter 1:2-4). But that doesn't mean that He answers all of our questions. Obviously, He knows there are things we can't fully understand during our time on earth so He allows them to remain mysteries.
Proverbs 3:5-6: Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.
Our human understanding is flawed. We will not always think the right thing, the right way, at the right time.
2. We can't understand everything about prayer, but we can understand many things. What are two common themes in the Philippians passage above and the two passages below?
1. Praying about everything
The more dependent we are on the God, the better.
2. Praying with thanksgiving
Gratefulness is the necessary state of mind for every Christian because no matter what else is wrong in our lives, we are forgiven and adopted by Christ.
Colossians 4:2: Devote yourselves to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart. (NLT)
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18: Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ
Philippians 4:6-7: Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.